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FDA Announces Availability of Final Guidance on Menu Labeling

On May 5, 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the availability of its final menu labeling guidance, “A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away-From-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11).” The guidance is designed to help businesses comply with the menu labeling final rule.

Under a law signed late last year, FDA’s enforcement of its menu labeling final rule cannot begin until one year after FDA published this notice of availability. As a result, enforcement of the final Menu Labeling regulations will start on May 5, 2017.

FDA’s guidance responds to many frequently asked questions that it has received. It differs from the draft guidance by providing additional examples and new or revised questions and answers on topics such as covered establishments (pages 6, 12–17), alcohol beverages (pages 50–55), catered events (page 14), mobile vendors (page 16), grab-and-go items (pages 40–41) and record keeping requirements (pages 42–47). (more…)




FDA Delays Enforcement of Restaurant Menu Labeling Rule

This week, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) formally announced that the agency will delay enforcement of its final rule entitled “Food Labeling; Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments.” The statement marked the second time the agency extended the compliance deadline.  Enforcement of the menu labeling rule was scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016. The date that the FDA will begin enforcing menu labeling provisions is unknown at this time. The delay is the result of a provision in a federal appropriations law that prohibits the FDA from using funds to implement, administer, or enforce the menu labeling rule until one year after the agency issues its final, Level 1 guidance on nutrition labeling of standard menu items in restaurants and similar retail food establishments. FDA has yet to issue that final guidance.

 




FDA Announces New Menu Labeling Compliance Date

In a Federal Register Final Rule to be published tomorrow (July 10, 2015), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will announce that it has extended by one year (to December 1, 2016) the date by which covered restaurants must comply with FDA’s regulation requiring nutrition labeling of standard menu items.  FDA explains that it took this action in response to several requests for such an extension, and FDA believes it needs additional time to provide the industry with further clarifying guidance to facilitate compliance.

In addition, FDA says it will continue discussions with affected businesses and to answer questions about how the rule applies in particular situations.  To this end, next month FDA plans to issue draft guidance that answers some of the more frequently asked and crosscutting questions that FDA has received.  In accordance with past Agency practice, FDA’s guidance will be a “draft” to reflect FDA’s openness to further public comment and dialogue and to augment the guidance as new questions arise.

FDA also plans to provide educational and technical assistance for affected businesses and for FDA’s state and local regulatory partners to support reasonable and consistent compliance nationwide.  FDA says it is committed to being flexible and to working collaboratively with individual companies making a good faith effort to comply with the menu labeling regulations.




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